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Four tips to engage potential allies on Islamophobia at the holidays

Media Uncovered  |  By Carly Goodman, Nov 21, 2017

Research director Beth Hallowell guides us through tough conversations in her Facebook Live presentation.

Photo: AFSC

Our communications research director Beth Hallowell gave a terrific presentation this week via Facebook Live. You should check it out if you could use some tips for engaging potential allies at your holiday dinner table.  

Her presentation draws on the messaging study that AFSC conducted earlier this year. That research showed that two messages are most likely to move people to action against profiling and surveillance of Muslim people in our communities.

Tip #1: Talk about human rights with progressives.

Research shows that progressives tend to respond well to framing the issue of Islamophobia as one of respecting human rights. You could say, “We all benefit when we uphold the dignity and worth of all people.” 

Tip #2: Talk about peace and safety with moderates.

We’ve found that the value-based frame that appeals to the broadest audience is: “Everyone deserves to live and pray in safety and peace.” It’s a statement that your friends are family are likely to believe in – even if they haven’t previously thought about how Islamophobia threatens members of our communities.

Tip #3: Don’t talk about how Islamophobia “fuels extremism” or “sows hatred.”

Using a negative message isn’t likely to inspire someone. Instead, it can shut people down, even if they agree with you. Try to focus on positive shared values and the outcomes you seek by challenging Islamophobia.

Tip #4: Don’t myth-bust.

Research shows that instead of repeating wrong information in order to refute it, you are better off just stating the truth in affirmative positive terms. 


For more ideas about how to counter Islamophobia this holiday season, be sure to watch Beth’s Facebook Live video, check out this blog post from our Communities against Islamophobia program, and read more about how to talk about Islamophobia in real life and online. 

Countering Islamophobia in conversations in our everyday lives—especially during the holidays—is not easy. But research shows that holding these conversations can actually change minds and move people to action. We hope these tips help.